As ad people, it’s easy to say that we intentionally catch a lot of commercials on TV (heck, what else are we gonna talk about all day?). One thing we commonly see is that brands use their competitors as benchmarks. It’s the classic “Coke vs. Pepsi” claim: we’re better than they are and here’s why. Brands might not be so blatantly calling out their competitors, comparisons happen all the time. Here’s one from Mr. Clean Magic Eraser (which is awesome, by the way).
In this ad, Mr. Clean claims to remove 3x more grime per swipe. While that might be true, it seems they are simply introducing themselves as another option in the cleaning world, not totally charging in and dominating the field. And that’s the end game, right? Comparing to your competitors doesn’t make ads (or products) bad, but the world is inundated with this type of marketing. There are
other better ways to get the “in.”
To really stand out, don’t just preach your own products. Think of ways to change how your consumers view your competition. Maybe it’s disproving that something works. Maybe it’s bringing up a point about a competitor that your consumer has never thought of before. For Mr. Clean, maybe it could have been that all those other guys have a crazy odor, need 8 lbs. of paper towels to use, or require a hazmat suit to avoid all those liquid chemicals. Maybe its even hitting on the consumer’s emotions about all the waste that those plastic bottles and paper towels create. Regardless, you’ve got to first get the customer thinking differently about other products in your marketplace before you can slide in and solidify your place in their mind.
For more examples, check out chapter 8 in the book Positioning. You won’t be sorry.